the Thai army has started removing Kampuchean refugees from the tense border area. Thai authorities?
the Thai army has started removing Kampuchean refugees from the tense border area. Thai authorities fear that fighting may spread over the border and that food supplies might be cut to those refugees refusing to be debased.
SYNOPSIS: More than eight thousand refugees were moved to new refugee camps eight miles (12 kilometres) from the frontier on Wednesday (21 November). The operation continued into Thursday (22 November) when a similar number of Kampucheans were lead to safer homes. Throughout the move, columns of Kampuchean refugees walked the dusty roads along the border to reach the army's pickup points. There, the Thai army had provided buses and lorries to speed the evacuation.
At the pick-up points the Army took over. The evacuation was planned in every detail and carried out in military precision.
There had been calls from refugee leaders that only the sick and aged to the allowed to move, but many of the refugees as boarded the ten buses provide for their evacuation were young and able bodied.
Nearly half a million people are drafting along the border. For these people there is at least the distant hope of more settled and peaceful time -- and the promise of food. But for some, the way out of the border area is on the back of a Red Cross lorry.
Disease is still widespread among the refugees. With highly mobile guerrilla units -- like these Khmer Seri soldiers -- among the refugees the spread of epidemics, especially malaria, is a growing threat.
The Khao I Dang camp -- three square kilometres (2 square miles) of land which has earned itself the dubious reputation of being the largest refugee camp in the world. Here the refugees are met by Red Cross officials.
The camp can accommodate 300 thousand people -- the same number of people as each Thai military authorities estimate will be driven across the border over the next weeks by hunger, disease and fear of Vietnamese attacks. Right wing Kampuchean leaders say they will limit the number of refugees being rebased, because they need every man to fight the Vietnamese. And some refugees to leave the camp to return to the jungle.